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Link Development Forum

The new face of link building

 9:40 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not a fan of 'build it and they will come'. I believe you need to actively seek links.

I also believe that Google's basic algo remains unchanged and will continue to remain based on quantity of high quality inbound links.

In years past I'd put up great content and then go actively seeking links. And I'd get them. Not all the time, but I'd get reasonable response. Hard work paid off.

That's not been my experience in the last few months. My link building involves over the top unique content (research grade), then asking folks to give me a link. I'm getting close enough to no response that it's effectively 0. Something needs to change.

Here's the revelation I had. I called someone (rather than emailed them) because I had something else I wanted to discuss. They gave me a link as the result of our conversation. But the site owner was clear - if I'd have sent an email he would have deleted it along with the *30 others he gets every day*. Never mind how good my email or my content was.

So, I still believe ranking is about links. But to get those links, it's now all about relationship building.

How to build those relationships? That's a bit trickier. I've mentioned before that I've got an adnetwork I run in my niche - that lets me send money :) to independent high quality sites in my niche. (the foundation of ALL good relationships involves transfer of cash :) ). I've decided to build out that ad network into similiar fields. This will let me call high quality websites to sign them up for my ad network. When I do so, I fully disclose what I do for a living - because it's incidental to my making them money. But now I've got a relationship. I can call and get guest postings, advertising, banners, etc - all the links I want....and where they're ad related I can get substantially discounted rates :).

That's my next move, I'll be building this out over the summer then leveraging those relationships for links over the fall and into 2011.

Thoughts? What are you doing in terms of relationship building to get links?

P.S. you're not allowed to use the word 'facebook' in any responses.



 9:51 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Offline relationship building? Do people actually do that any more?! I don't get it- when you talk to someone face to face, how can you know how many friends you have in common? If they're ugly, you have to look at their real face instead of an avatar of Brad Pitt. You also can't be subjected to their inane 140-character thoughts unless they actually speak them. What kind of twisted world is that?! :)

All kidding aside, I can see that "offline" link building would be more successful than online, although it probably takes a lot more effort. Those that do it have a leg up on those who stick to e-mail.


 9:56 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I still find the easiest way to "find links" is to simply publish a suggest link form on my website letting other sites know I am interested in linking with relevant sites within my realm of interest.

This generates one way links from sites who are hoping I will link back. Of course I maintain full control over who I decide is worthy of a link back. It's a very simple way to generate one way links. I don't care if some of my one ways are irrelevant because the search engines realize I cannot control who links to my site. Therefore its important to make sure not to reciprocate irrelevant links.


 10:40 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

These days you need to build sites like a christmas tree. Your biggest and brightest site being the star and each subsequent site being a branch lower on the tree. Each branch down links to the one above it once or twice to funnel pagerank up the tree like sap.

If you can add outside links to branches consider them ornaments, they often break in time.

Another way is to run a web directory. Submit sites that link to you into the directory, don't link to them from your site. You create a mini tree out of them, they boost your star and the directory boosts them.

The internet is a Christmas tree!


 6:29 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"But to get those links, it's now all about relationship building. "

One of the more intelligent lines I have heard in the link building sector in a while.

Viral link building is still very important, and as Pageoneresults mentioned in another thread, the results are amplified by utilizing Twitter (if you have built up a loyal and strong following)

Many of the bigger, quality links I secure are by phone to this day. In fact, recently I found a .org in my sector where I found out when contacting the website, that not only would they give me a link, they are considering shutting down the site and are searching for someone to take over.

Those opportunities I rarely ever got by email.


 11:32 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

My MO is to retain as many visitors as possible so they return again and again, their word of mouth can (and do) more for me and reach in more deep pockets of the web than anything I can dream up. I don't care about where the links come from (twitter, facebook, forums, groups, blogs, email, nofollowed, followed, non-indexed, whatever)...they're all good for sending new visitors, and then rinse and repeat. A visitor may not link right away, but maybe next week or next month on one of their visits, or they may link every other week!

Google is a traffic sending monster, but it's amazing what an army of average web users can do for you. And Google seems to respond to that too ;).


 6:47 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

the foundation of ALL good relationships involves transfer of cash

Very funny, almost spit my coffee all over. It's also pretty much true when you think about it - especially in business.

It made me think of a fundamental dissonance in the way Google functions vs. the way it thinks. So, Google ... appropriated ... the idea of adwords from Bill Gross of (formely) GOTO.com. His idea (at least my interpretation of it) was that adding money to any system created a kind of friction and due to that friciton only the best companies could stay at the top. This is exactly how adwords works, with quality mixed into that calculation which is a good enhancement to the monetary friction idea.
So Google makes most of it's money based on monetary friction helping companies rank higher in the paid results.
Yet when it comes to the organic results they're completely against the idea of money coming into the equation. I don't see why this should be a problem as long as they also factor in quality, which is in reality what I think they strive to do.
In conclusion, Google shouldn't be so against money being involved in links because it's both efficient and inevitable.

man in poland

 6:59 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Totally agree, wheel. I go a step further if necessary and have more than once got on a plane to go visit someone overseas looking for a link. It has always worked. Hey, and with airfares so cheap these days, it has given me an incredibly high ROI! The added information that comes with these contacts are also amazing. I'm just heading off next week by volcano-ash-dodging train to a neighbouring country to secure a killer link (touch wood), but I'm sure I'll be gaining a lot more than that, value-wise, in new knowledge.


 7:31 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. Telelink Marketers... I feel a business comming on :)


 8:30 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)


I haven't been doing much new but I will re-enforce something you touched on.

A phone call can go a really really long way.

I got into the habit of solely communicating by email, it is just easier, I can respond to direct questions in my own time and give more thought to my answers.

What I have found is there is a big group of people who find this impersonal and even lazy. This is even more true if an email is the first point of contact.

What I have found to be more effective is to try to make any initial contact no matter the reason or the person to be in person or with a phone call.

Once I make that call then I follow up in emails and I find people to be much more receptive, especially when it comes to link building or anything where you are essentially asking for a favor or a quid pro quo.

When at all possible I would say try to make a call then follow up with an email when looking for someone to do an exchange with you.


 9:33 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I still hold to the belief that you need to build a site that is so good that people will want to return or even tell their friends. There needs to be a good reason to link to the site. This is the part that is missing for most.

There was time when there were thousands of pages on the internet... then millions ... then billions ... then trillions...

Simple tricks that worked in a small neighborhood (of sites) may still work today, but when it comes to search engines, they are dealing with extremely large quantities of data in comparison with the past. They have enough information and resources to make sure that spam gets pushed down, while sites that are so worthwhile that people want to revisit them and tell their fiends and link to them (because they want to) will get pushed up. It's that simple.

And a final note, sites that become less worthwhile because they are not properly maintained, get infected with malware, or otherwise get spammed are also detectable by search engines.

In today's market, you really have to make a site that people love, and then work your tail off to keep it that way.


 10:02 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

pages on the internet... then millions ... then billions ... then trillions...
Which reminds me, how many pages are there on the internet today?

'build it and they will come'.
That may be a better plan for the hobby site than for an ecommerce site. It "used to" work anyhow, times change I guess



 3:47 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Viral link building is still very important,

This is where the smart linking of today and tomorrow is in my opinion. Ironically , it also can lessen a site's reliance on the SERP's by creating interest through social / viral networks.

Leveraging link strategies that indirectly reduce your reliance on Google has to be a big element of applied tactics.


 5:36 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yet when it comes to the organic results they're completely against the idea of money coming into the equation. I don't see why this should be a problem...

It is an easy answer - all Google needs is customers, not competitors!


 7:07 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Me to every SEO I have hired since 2005; "build relationships first then build ( ask for ) links"

...and it works

I haven't sent a link request email in 7 or 8 years. I pick up the phone and ask for the link.

There has been much talk in link building over the years of becoming an authority in your niche, paticipating in online forums, blogs etc and I am sure it works but participating in your offline community had always worked better for me

Attending industry conferences, events, networking organising informal get togethers, going for lunch with competiors, SEOs and marketers, attending local tweetups and just meeting for a beer and a chat has generated more of the links that I wanted than any number of link request I could have sent.


 10:21 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wheel ... I agree with you. While we don't use the phone to call and ask for links, we do have a target list of top bloggers/thought leaders that we follow and try to build relationships with (read their blogs and send them a personal email with our thoughts, respond and comment on their Twitter posts, etc). Later on, it becomes easier to let them know (via email or DM on Twitter) that we have this new blog post or article and they link back to it from their site.

It took time to build these relationships, but it certainly helped in getting these folks more willing to link to us.


 1:10 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I still hold to the belief that you need to build a site that is so good that people will want to return or even tell their friends. There needs to be a good reason to link to the site. This is the part that is missing for most."

I wish this were true too. But, people who like a site, rarely link to it, because they aren't webmasters. I see bad sites at the top of the SERPs and I check their backlinks and they're the usual link pollution. By linking success and backlinks, G created many things, one of which is the link swamp.

I think it's a shame what has happened, but it is what it is. It may be partly due to my own higher expectations, and also my heightened understanding of how the engines work, but personally, I think they've moved backwards in presenting quality results.

As consumers, we should create a crowdsourcing website where we show bad examples of what the engines present...

Of course, once we attached success with the right to vote for site quality, we'd soon have polluted judges.

Just saying that I think links have become a very poor indicator of site quality, though their importance reigns supreme.


 3:04 pm on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Which reminds me, how many pages are there on the internet today?

There is a Google blog post that mentions passing a trillion URLs with unique content - and its not far short of two years old.


 7:04 am on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't do any relationship building to get links, calling or emailing. Most, though not all, of my older sites seem to keep or improve their rankings over time with unsolicited links.

For new sites and older sites that have dropped in rankings I just do routine stuff - directory listings, blog posts, article writing, etc. and that usually works out pretty good.


 9:28 am on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I go a step further if necessary and have more than once got on a plane to go visit someone overseas looking for a link."
Could you please elaborate more of ROI.

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